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Facebook details plans to combat election interference on the platform

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg held a conference call on Monday, October 21, to discuss abuse and election interference on the platform.

“The bottom line here is that elections have changed significantly since 2016, and Facebook has changed too,” Zuckerberg said on the call before detailing some of the types of threats Facebook has started to see on the platform.

He says that Facebook now spends billions of dollars on safety and security on the platform and that the company is now doubling down on transparency on political Facebook posts. Ads will be labeled as fact-checked and proven false before a person clicks through to the content. It will also post on Pages what country a page is from, as well as the legal name of the person who operates that page.

While it’s not banning false political ads, Facebook is banning ads that suggest voting is useless and those that spread misinformation about what day elections are on in an attempt to prevent people from coming to the polls.

The company also posted a blog post co-authored by Guy Rosen, vice president of integrity; Katie Harbath, public policy director for global elections; Nathaniel Gleicher, head of cybersecurity policy; and Rob Leathern, director of product management, who were also on the call detailing the social network’s plans going forward.

Specifically, the company has new plans in place to fight foreign interference in elections, increase transparency on the site, and reduce misinformation.

Here’s a brief rundown on what those policies are:

Fighting foreign interference

  • Combating inauthentic behavior, including an updated policy towards fake accounts.
  • Protecting the accounts of candidates, elected officials, their teams, and others through Facebook Protect

Increasing transparency

  • Making Pages more transparent, including showing the confirmed owner of a Page
  • Labeling state-controlled media on their Page and in our Ad Library
  • Making it easier to understand political ads, including those of a new U.S. presidential candidate, and spend tracker.

Reducing misinformation

  • Preventing the spread of misinformation, including clearer fact-checking labels
  • Fighting voter suppression and interference, including banning paid ads that suggest voting is useless or that advise people not to vote
  • Helping people better understand the information they see online, including an initial investment of $2 million to support media literacy projects

The call comes on the heels of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren posting a paid advertisement on the platform with “fake news” saying that Zuckerberg personally was now endorsing President Donald Trump in 2020.

You’re making my point here. It’s up to you whether you take money to promote lies. You can be in the disinformation-for-profit business, or you can hold yourself to some standards. In fact, those standards were in your policy. Why the change?

— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) October 13, 2019

Today’s announcement comes on the heels of a relatively similar announcement Facebook Ads made at the end of August explaining changes to ad policies for both Facebook and Instagram.

“We are confident that we’re more prepared going into the 2020 elections,” Zuckerberg says.

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